July 2017

Well, we’ve officially begun the summer season but if you’ve lived around here long enough you know that could mean anything from cool to hot and wet to dry weather. It looks like we’re in for cool and wet which can’t, and won’t, prevent us from doing what we do here in the U.P. For many of us, including those of us who run the City, it often means cramming all of our winter made plans into action during the few short months of summer. But before I say anything further, I feel that I need to reiterate my previous apology (in the last newsletter) for any inconvenience we are causing by all the construction taking place. Especially the traffic congestion that is caused by detours. Sorry about that.
No matter the inconveniences, it looks like our summer is shaping up in fine Marquette style with our calendar filled with usual array of festivals, parades and events. The Fourth of July holiday is right around the corner and all indications are that the parade and fireworks organizers are at full speed to make this year’s events the best ever. I happen to have an inside track through one of our City Commissioners who is at the tip of the fireworks spear and I can tell by his demeanor (and just knowing him) that he will not fail.
On another note, the construction of the new Duke LifePoint Hospital is on schedule and moving along very nicely. Because we are responsible for the road projects surrounding the new hospital we are essentially “partners” with DLP in this project. We continue to meet and share information on a regular basis and are very confident that, once competed, the project will have a tremendously positive impact on the entire community.
-Mike

May 2017

We are over a month into spring and to most people that means sunshine, budding trees and flowers and more pleasant weather. To us it means a busier time with a multitude of work including, but not limited to, the opening of parks and beaches, the cleaning of streets and multiuse paths and, of course, construction.
Our two major road projects have been put out for bids and the US41/M28 Bypass and Seventh Street project have already been awarded. In case you didn’t get a chance to see one of my earlier reports, this project involves two roundabouts on the bypass, a third one on Baraga near the new hospital construction site as well as the re-construction of Seventh Street as it nears the bypass intersection. The other major road project involves the building of three more roundabouts in north Marquette. Two on Wright Street at the Lincoln Avenue and Sugarloaf Avenue intersections with the third at Presque Isle and Fair Avenues.
I apologize to all of you for the traffic congestion that this might cause but, in the end, it will vastly improve the traffic flow and safety for all who traverse our City streets and sidewalks.
I have mentioned in previous musings the many projects that have or will be occurring in the City and it seems that more are coming in every day. I’d like to take credit but the truth is that Marquette has taken on a life of its own. What staff and the City Commission can take credit for is recognizing the opportunities when they come. It seems that each new project is something a little out of the ordinary, causing all of us to think a little differently than we normally do.
A common theme among many cities in Michigan is that we should be looking at creative ways of accomplishing the success of the City. In other words, make it easier and more attractive for people to live, work and develop here. I’m thankful that the City Commission and staff see it that way as well.
-Mike

March 2017

Well it’s March and we are all enjoying an unusual reprieve from the harsh winter weather. But, if you been around here long enough, you know it’s only a reprieve and we’ll soon be back out with our shovels and snow blowers.
The last time I wrote, I mentioned that everything seems to be moving along smoothly and I’m glad to report it still is. However, much like my last job, as the old stuff goes out , the new stuff comes in. In this instance, it seems like the new is coming in faster than the old is going out. Which is good in our case because it represents the continuing positive trend in growth and progress.

One of the new directions that the City has recently initiated is a full examination of energy efficiency within our own facilities and public utilities. Recent state legislation, enacted in August 2016, now allows municipalities to take advantage of a lease program to finance new infrastructure that will result in energy savings. The legislation is called the Tax Exempt Lease Program or TELP. It’s great for us in that it allows us to finance energy saving infrastructure projects (which, by the way, are all almost in our Capital Improvement Plan already) over any number of years to a maximum of 20 years. It won’t be counted as debt (which is important to our financial stature) and the best part is that all the improvements will be paid for by the dollars saved in energy costs.

In other words, we are paying for all the improvements with money that we are already spending on energy. The initial study is expected to be completed by July of this year, but all of our preliminary information suggests that it will be successful. This could ultimately be a win-win-win in that we will be more energy efficient, be able to improve infrastructure and more efficiently spend tax dollars, which I’m sure everyone would agree is a good idea.
Hopefully in one of my near future articles I will be able to report a successful effort. See you next time.
-Mike

January 2017

Hello again. Although not official at the time of this writing, winter is here and the City continues to hum along in spite of the weather. All of our road projects are completed for this year with most of the building construction projects closed in and ready for inside work. The only exception that I can think of is the hospital project that still has a lot of steel to go up, but that work will also continue through the winter.
Speaking of buildings, the City Commission recently conducted a tour of the new Public Works facility on Wright street and I have to tell you that it is very impressive. Our contractor, along with City staff, has done a very good job designing a building that will serve the public very well long into the future.
Public Works crews have rotated into their winter operations which primarily deal with snow removal and, especially, keeping our streets clear and safe. I don’t want to miss this opportunity to remind drivers (especially those of you that
are not familiar with winter driving) to adjust your driving to the weather conditions. As a retired Police Officer, I can tell you with some authority that there is a “learning curve” when transitioning from dry pavement driving to driving on the snow. We always commented on the need for drivers (even locals) to “retrain” themselves after the first snow of the year as there is a big increase in traffic crashes during the first few days of snowy conditions. It usually results in unhappy drivers but happy vehicle repair shops. Also, don’t forget the City-wide winter parking ban. Vehicles are not allowed to be parked on any City streets from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. from Nov. 1, 2016 until April 1, 2017.
Well, that’s it for now. We can look forward to another busy summer in 2017 as we have several high impact road construction plans on the table and new building projects in addition to those already in progress. Stay warm for now.

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City Hall:

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